College of Visual and Performing Arts
College of Visual and Performing Arts

John O'Connell,  Dean

Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne
2101 E. Coliseum Boulevard
Fort Wayne, IN 46805-1499

  • Office: Visual Arts Building
  • Room: VA102
  • Hours: Mon-Fri, 8 am-5 pm

  • Phone: 260-481-6977
  • Fax: 260-481-6707
  • E-mail:


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Fine Arts | Music | Theatre | VCD

Expressions Archive: December 2011

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Ushenko Soars with
Solo Exhibition in NYC

IPFW Fine Arts Professor Audrey Ushenko’s paintings were recently showcased in a solo exhibition, Fête Champêtre, at Denise Bibro Fine Art Inc. in New York City, October 13 through November 12, 2011. According to the gallery, “…her uniquely rendered canvases of luxuriously composed still life and social gatherings have the airs of an extravagant garden party or celebration.”  

Ushenko’s masterful use of light and shadow and brilliant brushstroke enhance the viewer’s experience. One gets senses of things that have just happened and things that are going to happen. Ushenko “… is a master chronicler of realities small and large,” as critic Gerrit Henry noted in his 2003 Art in America review. 

Ushenko earned master’s and doctoral degrees in art history at Northwestern University. She is a member of the National Academy of Art in New York City and has exhibited extensively throughout the United States, including the National Academy of Design in New York City and the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. Her works have been reviewed in Art in America, The New York Times, and American Artists.  Denise Bibro 

VCD Seniors Win Awards

Graduating B.F.A. candidates from the Department of Visual Communication and Design had the distinct privilege of having their work judged by award-winning photographer, designer and printmaker Katarzyna Gruda, associate professor at Parsons The New School for Design. Gruda is director of of the Graphic Design Program in the School of Art, Media, and Technology.

Ten seniors, led by instructor Matt Georgi, vice-president of Asher Agency in Fort Wayne, displayed their senior projects in “Experience Shared” showcasing their accomplishments in graphic design, photography, illustration and video production at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art (FWMoA). “Visitors were impressed by the variety of projects and full array of student talents,” said Georgi. “The students dreamed big...and delivered big.” 

During their opening night award ceremony at FWMoA on Friday, Nov. 18, 2011, Gruda congratulated them, saying,  "Having seen your exhibition, I am confident that you're ready for the "real world" challenges of your profession."

Winners include:

  • BEST-IN-SHOW: Brandon Deel
  • VIEWER'S' CHOICE: Andrew Meredith
  • FIRST  PLACE PHOTOGRAPHY: Patricia Eykholt

Associate Professor Barbara Resch Heralded as “Hometown Hero”

The Board of Directors for Visit Fort Wayne, the official convention and visitor’s bureau for Fort Wayne and Allen County, recently recognized IPFW Associate Professor Barbara Resch as one of their “Hometown Heroes.” The board extended their appreciation to Associate Professor Resch, director of music education and associate dean for the College of Visual and Performing Arts, for her leadership in bringing the Indiana Music Educators Association's (IMEA) annual conference and over 3,000 attendees to Fort Wayne for three consecutive years spanning 2011, 2012 and 2013.

This year, the IMEA will again meet at the Grand Wayne Convention Center from January 19-21, 2012. The annual, state-wide professional development conference, routinely held in Indianapolis in previous years, will focus on educational development for educators from elementary school through college. Attendees will be convening in Fort Wayne bringing in an estimated $1.2 - 1.5 million dollars in direct spending to the local economy.

Throughout the week, the convention will present eighteen (18) free performances by youth vocal and instrumental honors groups from across the state at a variety of venues in Fort Wayne that will be open to the public.  The highlight of the convention this year is an exciting performance by the The Canadian Brass at the Embassy Theatre Friday, January 20, 2012 at 8:00 p.m.with adult tickets only $28.  To purchase tickets, contact The Embassy Theatre Box Office at 260-424-6287 ext. 221. IMEA

Bringing Shakespeare
to High Schools

Having a hard time getting your students interested in Shakespeare? Need to pump some energy into your English curriculum?  Let the IPFW Department of Theatre bring an absolutely free performance of Brush Up Your Shakespeare to your school.  IPFW is currently scheduling high school performances in northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio for Spring 2012.

Brush Up Your Shakespeare is a funny, fast-paced performance featuring some of Shakespeare’s most famous plays. Written for young audiences, with pop-culture references in mind, this 50-minute presentation takes a contemporary and hilarious look at Romeo and Juliet, As You Like It, and Julius Caesar, to name a few. 

Teachers agree, it encourages their students to dive into Shakespeare the next day.  Here’s what some of the teachers had to say about last year’s Brush Up Your Shakespeare tour:

“Your performance was a great success…I received all very positive feedback from the teachers…who took a variety of students from all levels and grades.”

“It was very clever and kept the audience engaged with the humor and pop culture and theatre references.”

“Our theatre students enjoyed talking with the actors and crew about IPFW.”

“My students, who have read five of Shakespeare’s plays, loved the connections they could make and the idea that they ‘got’ the references.”

“Your actors were talented, fun, and professional. The show ran smoothly and on time.”

 “We loved it and the students have been talking about how great and fun it was!”

“Even my ‘reluctant’ students commented on how much they enjoyed it – especially the humor and the audience interaction.”

Brush Up Your Shakespeare is a free, live performance that comes directly to your school – no busses necessary! Our company of four actors, a stage manager and the tour director bring a completely self-contained performance that includes costumes, sets and props. All you need to do is provide the space and the students! We even encourage your students to participate on stage with our actors. 

Contact tour director Victoria Zischke at 260-481-6941 or e-mail your request to

Academy Award Winner
Comes to College

Academy award-winning artist, production designer, and author Doug Chiang gave a presentation on December 8 in the Visual Arts Building, followed by a question and answer session and a book signing. Hosted by the IPFW Department of Continuing Studies and the Department of Visual Communications and Design, Chiang talked about his experiences in the film industry and presented work from his career, including some that was shown for the first time in this exclusive presentation.

After attending the film school at UCLA, Chiang began his career as a stop motion animator on the Pee Wee’s Playhouse TV series. A Clio Award-winning commercial director,  he earned an Academy Award and two British Academy Awards as Visual Effects Art Director on the films Terminator 2, Ghost, The Mask, Forrest Gump and Death Becomes Her.

At Lucasfilm, LTD he worked as Design Director on the first two Star Wars prequels before forming IceBlink Studios, LLC, his Marin County film-design studio. From 2002 to 2010, he has served as Production Designer on The Polar Express, Beowulf, A Christmas Carol, and Mars Needs Moms. Chiang

Expressions Archive


Assistant Professor Andres Montenegro with the Department of Visual Communication and Design has been selected to receive a New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities Exploration Traveling Fellowship in the amount of $2,500. The funds, awarded by Indiana University Vice President Jorge José, will assist in his continued research of the practical exploration of the synergetic effort of animators. The project will involve animators in two locations significantly distant from each other as they explore and create an animated narrative. The animation techniques, developed by using 2D and 3D digital graphics, will be based on two stories that will bridge oral traditions and legends related to Valparaiso, Chile, and Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Robert Bean, professor and chair of the IPFW Department of Music, was honored by the Mississippi State University Department of Music as one of their two alumni of the year (2011). During a recent visit to the MSU campus he led master classes for piano students, coached various ensembles, and spoke to MSU music majors about career paths in the field of music. Dr. Michael Patilla, who studied with Dr. Bean at the University of Montevallo, nominated him for this award and was selected by a committee of MSU faculty members.

Lucas Carter, photography major, had a one-night-only exhibition on Nov. 25, 2011, featuring his images in the series entitled Beyond the Cage, showcasing images shot over a four-month period of time with Hollywood MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) of Fort Wayne, Indiana. The series was done as a special project for the Portrait Photography class taught by VCD continuing lecturer Jim Gabbard. Images are viewable at Beyond the Cage.

Freshman photography major Ajna Wagenfeld captured first place in the annual Fall Student Art in the Library Competition with her photograph titled IPFW Reflections. Wagenfeld received a $125 award from Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs George S. McClellan. Judges for the competition were Christopher Ganz, Department of Fine Arts; Jim Gabbard, Department of Visual Communication and Design; and Denise Buhr, Helmke Library.

More Successes

Kendallville Mayor Suzanne Handshoe and members of the Chamber of Commerce joined artist, owner and IPFW Fine Arts alumni Peggy Tassler ('05) on Nov. 18, 2011 for a grand opening, ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new SOZO Art Studio & Gallery.  Located in the heart of Kendallville’s beautiful historic downtown district at 102 S. Main Street, SOZO originally opened in 2008.  SOZO expanded into its new home due to their popularity and the loyal support of their patrons.  SOZO offers art openings, art-for-sale and a variety of art classes for all ages.

Community Arts Academy (CAA) theatre instructor Gloria Minnich was pleased to announce that CAA student Jamie Schueler was cast in the role "Anne" in Bellmont High School's November, 2011 production of Anne of Green Gables.